Ashapurna Devi

Ashapurna Devi (8 January 1909 – 13 July 1995) also Ashapoorna Devi or Ashapurna Debi, was a prominent Indian novelist and poet in Bengali. She has been widely honoured with a number of prizes and awards. In 1976, she was awarded Jnanpith Award and the Padma Shri by the Government of India; D.Litt. by the Universities of Jabalpur, Rabindra Bharati, Burdwan and Jadavpur. Vishwa Bharati University honoured her with Deshikottama in 1989. For her contribution as a novelist and short story writer, the Sahitya Akademi conferred its highest honour, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, in 1994.[1]

Ashapurna Devi
Born(1909-01-08)8 January 1909
Potoldanga, Calcutta, India
Died13 July 1995(1995-07-13) (aged 86)
OccupationNovelist, poet
Notable worksProthom Protishruti
Bakul Katha
Notable awardsJnanpith Award
Padma Shri
Sahitya Akademi Fellowship


Ashapurna Devi was born in a Baidya family. She was born on 8 January 1909, at her maternal uncle's home at Potoldanga in North Calcutta. Her ancestral village is Begumpur in Hooghly District. Her birth name was Asha Purna Devi (Gupta). Her early childhood was spent in a traditional and extremely conservative family at Vrindaban Basu Lane amongst a large number of relatives. Due to the domination of her grandmother, a staunch supporter of old customs and conservative ideals, the female children of the house were not allowed to go to school. Private tutors were employed only for the boys. It is said that as a baby Ashapurna used to listen to the readings of her brothers sitting opposite to them and that was how she learnt the alphabets.[2]

Ashapurna's father Harendra Nath Gupta was a famous artist of the time who worked for C. Lazarus & Co. fine furniture makers as a designer. Ashapurna's mother Sarola Sundari came from a very enlightened family and was a great book lover. It was her "intensive thirst" for reading classics and story books which was transmitted to Ashapurna and her sisters in their early age.[3]

Due to shortage of space, Harendra Nath shifted his family to a new house at 157/1A Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road (beside the Khanna Cinema Hall), which provided freedom to Sarola Sundari and her daughters to read according to their heart's desires. To satisfy Sarola Sundari's tremendous urge of reading there had been a continuous flow of books and magazines from the libraries of the time. As there was no dearth of leisure for the daughters and no bar to reading adult books from a very early age, Ashapurna and her sisters built a love-relationship with books. Though Ashapurna had no formal education as such, she was self-educated.[4]

The period in which Ashapurna was raised was socially and politically restless, a time of nationalist agitation and awakening. Though the children of Harendra Nath did not have direct contact with the outside world, they were quite sensitive to the restlessness going on throughout the country led by Mahatma Gandhi and other political leaders who were ready to sacrifice their lives to bring independence. Thus different factors were responsible for nourishing the specific culture which guided Ashapurna from her early childhood to youth, and carried her to a definite platform through various experiences and ideals of life.[5]

According to Ashapurna, she and her sisters used to compete with each other by composing and reciting poems. This gave rise to an unusual tenacity which inspired Ashapurna to secretly send a poem to Sishu Sathi in 1922. Ashapurna was thirteen and her poem "Bairer Dak" (The Call from the Outside) was published, with a request from editor Rajkumar Chakravorty to send more poems and stories. That was the beginning which developed into a never-ending flourish for Ashapurna, culminating into a permanent place for her into the realm of Bengali literature.[6]

Ashapurna was sent to be married in 1924 when she was fifteen years of age, leaving Calcutta for her betrothed's family residence in Krishnanagar. She was married to Kalidas Gupta, and the couple moved frequently as they established themselves. In 1927 they settled in Calcutta on Ramesh Mitra Road, Bhowanipur and later in a bigger house at 77 Beltola Road, where they lived until 1960. They then had to shift to a separate flat near Golpark with their only son Sushanta, daughter-in-law Nupur, and a granddaughter Shatarupa. Later, in 1967, another granddaughter, Shatadeepa, was added to the family. In 1970, Kalidas Gupta and Ashapurna built their own house in Garia at 17 Kanungo Park. Ashapurna lived there until she died on 13 July 1995.[7]

In the beginning of her writing career, Ashapurna wrote only for children – Chhoto Thakurdar Kashi Yatra (Great Uncle Goes to Varanasi) was the first printed edition published in 1938, followed by others throughout her literary career.

In 1936 she first wrote a story for adults, "Patni O Preyoshi", published in the Puja issue of Ananda Bazar Patrika. Prem O Prayojan was her first novel for adults, published in 1944.

Since this period, her writing continued as a never-ending process. Most of her writings marked a spirited protest both for men and women, against the inequality and injustice stemming from the gender-based discrimination and narrowness of outlook ingrained in traditional Hindu society. Ashapurna Devi's stories lay threadbare the oppression women have to face and made a fervent appeal for a new social order, though not subscribing to the modern theoretical feminism of western mode. Her magnum opus, the trilogy Pratham Pratishruti (1964), Subarnolata (1967) and Bakul Katha (1974), symbolises an endless struggle for women to achieve equal rights.

Upon her death she was at the peak of her fame, leaving behind unique literary creations. Ashapurna Devi had been widely honoured with a number of prizes and awards, noted below.[8]




  1. Aar Ek Ashapurna (Mitra O Ghosh)
  2. Agniparikha (Mitra O Ghosh)
  3. Asha Purna Devir Rachanaboli [in 10 volumes] (Mitra O Ghosh)
  4. Asha Purna Bithika (Nirmal Sahityam)
  5. Anamaniyaa (Karuna Prakashani)
  6. Bakul Katha (Mitra O Ghosh, 1974)
  7. Biswas Abiswas (Deb Sahitya Kutir)
  8. Chabibandha Sinduk (Mitra O Ghosh)
  9. Chitrakalpa (Mitra O Ghosh)
  10. Chosma Palte Jai (Deb Sahitya Kutir)
  11. Dibyahasini'r Dinolipi (Mitra O Ghosh)
  12. Drishya Theke Drishyantore (Mitra O Ghosh)
  13. Dwitiyo Adwitiyo (Nirmal Sahityam)
  14. Ei To Sedin (Ananda Publishers)
  15. Kalyani (Nirmal Sahityam)
  16. Ka(n)ta Pukur Lane'r Komola (Deb Sahitya Kutir)
  17. Laghu Tripodi (Puspo)
  18. Lila Chirontan (Mitra O Ghosh)
  19. Nakhyatrer Akash (Nirmal Sahityam)
  20. Noksha Kata Ghor (Karuna Prakashoni)
  21. Pancha Nodir Teere (Pal Publishers)
  22. Prem O Proyojon (Punascha, Nirmal Sahityam)
  23. Priyo Galpo (Nirmal Sahityam)
  24. Prothom Pratisruti (Mitra O Ghosh, 1964)
  25. Sashi Babu'r Sangsar (Punascha)
  26. Siri Bhanga Anka (Mitra O Ghosh)
  27. Shrimti Sat(m)a Jibon (Karuna Prakashani)
  28. Sthan Kaal Patra (Karuna Prakashani)
  29. Subarnalata (Mitra O Ghosh, 1967)
  30. Tin Prohor (Baluchori, Sunglass, Srinkholita) (Nirmal Sahityam)
  31. Trimatrik (Nirmal Sahityam)
  32. V.I.P Bari'r Lok (Karuna Prakashani)


Her rochonaboli (collected works) are published in 10 volumes from publisher Mitra O Ghosh.

Rochonaboli, Vol. 1Edit

  1. "Boloygras" (1952)
  2. "Jogbiyog" (1960)
  3. "Nirjon Prithibi" (1956)
  4. "Charpotra" (1960)
  5. "Prothom Lagna"
  6. "Samudra Neel Akash Neel" (1960)
  7. "Uttorlipi" (1960)
  8. "Teenchanda"
  9. "Mukhor Ratri" (1961)

Rochonaboli, Vol. 2Edit

  1. "Agni Parikha" (1952)
  2. "Alor Sakhor"
  3. "Jibon Swad"
  4. "Aaar Ek Jhor"
  5. "Nodi Deek Hara"
  6. "Ekti Sondhya Ekti Sokal"
  7. "Uttoron"
  8. "Johuri"
  9. "Mayajaal"
  10. unpublished short stories
  11. unpublished non-fiction

Rochonaboli, Vol. 3Edit

  1. Prem O Prayojan (1944)
  2. "Nabajonma" (1960)
  3. Sashi Babu'r Sangsar (1956)
  4. "Unmochon" (1957)
  5. "Bahironga"
  6. "Begboti"
  7. "Abohosangeet"
  8. unpublished short stories
  9. unpublished poetries

Rochonaboli, Vol. 4Edit

  1. "Nepothyo Nayika"
  2. "Jonom Jonom ke Sathi"
  3. Laghu Tripodi
  4. "Du ye Mile Ek" (Srinkholita and Sunglass)
  5. "Suktisagar"
  6. "Sukherchabi"
  7. "Suyoranir Sadh"
  8. "Surobhi Sopno"
  9. unpublished short stories
  10. unpublished non-fiction

Rochonaboli, Vol. 5Edit

  1. "Mayadarpan"
  2. "Brittopoth"
  3. "Mittirbari"
  4. "Atikranto"
  5. "Sonar Horin"
  6. "Uro Pakhi"
  7. "Jugal Bondi"
  8. "Sesh Raai"

Rochonaboli, Vol. 6Edit

  1. Kokhono Deen Kokhono Raat
  2. Baluchori
  3. Anobogunthita
  4. unpublished short stories

Rochonaboli, Vol. 7Edit

  1. "Bijoyi Basanta"
  2. "Ditio Adhyay"
  3. "Neel Porda"
  4. "Durer Janla"
  5. "Juganter Jobonika Pare"
  6. "Dui Meru"
  7. unpublished short stories

Rochonaboli, Vol. 8Edit

  1. Prothom Pratisruti (First Part)
  2. "Polatok Sainik"
  3. "Pratikhar Bagan"
  4. "Jhinuk e Sei Tara"
  5. unpublished short stories

Rochonaboli, Vol. 9Edit

  1. Prothom Pratishruti (Last Part) (1964)
  2. Subarnalata (1967)

Rochonaboli, Vol. 10Edit

  1. Bakul Katha (1974)
  2. "Balir Niche Dhew"
  3. unpublished short stories

Works for younger readersEdit

  1. Aloy Adityer IcchaPatra Rahosyo (Ananda Publishers, 1995)
  2. Amorabatir Antorale (1994)
  3. Byaparta Ki Holo (1993)
  4. Bhaggi Juddho Bedhechilo (1986)
  5. Bhagyolakhi Lotarry (1990)
  6. Bhitore Ki Chilo (1985)
  7. Bhuture Kukur (1982)
  8. Bolber Moto Noi (1987)
  9. Cha(j)jone Mile (1979)
  10. Chutite Chotachuti (1982)
  11. Chotoder Srestho Golpo (1955)
  12. Chotoder Shresto Golpo (1981)
  13. Chotto Thakurdar Kashijatra (1938)
  14. Chotoder Bhalo Bhalo Golpo (1962)
  15. Dakaat r Kobole Ami (1972)
  16. Dibbosundarer Dibbogayan luv (1988)
  17. Doshti Kishore Uponyas (Ananda Publishers)
  18. Durer Basi (1978)
  19. Ek Kuri Golpo (1988)
  20. Ek Samudra onek Dheu (1963)
  21. Eker Modhe Teen (1991)
  22. Gaja Ukil Er Hatya Rahasya (Ananda Publishers, 1979)
  23. Golpo Bhalo Aber Bolo (1958)
  24. Golpo Holo Suru (1955)
  25. Golper Moto Golpo (1961)
  26. Half-Holiday (1941)
  27. Hasir Golpo (1967)
  28. Jibon Kalir Pakka Hiseb (1985)
  29. Jugalratno Tiktiki Office (1992)
  30. Kanakdeep (1962)
  31. Karapaker Pakchakra (Karuna Prakashani, 1997)
  32. Kato Kando Railgarite (1985)
  33. Kishore Amonibaas (1986)
  34. Kishore Bachai Golpo (1999)
  35. Kisor Sahityo Samagro (1983)
  36. Kishore Sahitya Samagro (1–3) (Mitra O Ghosh)
  37. Kisor Sahityo Samvar (1980)
  38. Kopal Khule Gelo Naki (1992)
  39. Majarumama (1992)
  40. Manikchand O Aro Choddo (1992)
  41. Manuser Mato Manus (1986)
  42. Mon Thaklei Mon Kamon (1996)
  43. Nije Bujhe Nin (1987)
  44. Nikharchai Amod (1982)
  45. Onara Thakbeni (1982)
  46. Pa(n)ch Bhuter Goppo (Punascha, 1990)
  47. Panchasti Kishore Galpo (Nirmal Sahityam)
  48. Pakhi Theke Hati (1983)
  49. Planchet(Karuna Prakashani,1999)
  50. Poyela Doshra (1992)
  51. Rajkumarer Poshake (Ananda Publishers, 1975)
  52. Rahasyer Sandhaane (Nirmal Sahityam, 1981)
  53. Raja Noi Rani Noi (1959)
  54. Rajai Golpo (1976)
  55. Rani Mayabatir Antardhyan Rahosyo (1993)
  56. Ro(n)gin Molat (1941)
  57. Sakaler Sapno (1994)
  58. Sarojanter Nayak (1992)
  59. Satyi Amod (1992)
  60. Sei Sob Golpo (1967)
  61. Sera Baro (1988)
  62. Sera Rahasyo Samvar (1984)
  63. Shanirbachito Chotoder Shesto Golpo (1996)
  64. Shono Shono Golpo Shono (Deb Sahitya Kutir, 1956)

Stories published in children's magazinesEdit

  • "Anko Sir o Mozart" (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1995)
  • "Bhagye Thakle Kina Hoi" (Uponyas)
  • "Bishe Bishkhay"
  • "Bhut Namaibar Sahoj Podhdhoti" (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1986)
  • "Chutite Chotachuti" (Uponyas,Sarodiya Anondomela, 1981)
  • "Ghya(N)ch Kore"
  • "Kagaj To Paro Na" (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1985)
  • "Kichhu Korena Kichhu Korbe Na" (Agomoni, Deb Sahitya Kutir)
  • "Matra Ekkhana Than Eet"
  • "Muskil Asan er Kolkathi" (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1989)
  • "Parar chhele" (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1987)
  • "Swapner Railgari" (Boro Golpo, Sarodiya Anondomela, 1983)
  • "Tibboti Lamar Coffin" (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1993)

Pakhik Anondomela Golpo SankalanEdit

  • "Tiktiki, Ateendriyo Shakti o Bedanto Bardhan" (11 January 1989, illustration – Krishnendu Chaki)
  • "Kopaal'er Naam Gopaal" (9 June 1993, illustration – Debashish Deb)
  • "Mojaru-Mama" (17 October 1984, illustration – Anup Roy)
  • "Ninkhonj Niruddesh Hote Gele" (7 January 1987, illustration – Krishnendu Chaki)

PujaBarshiki Anondomela Golpo SankalanEdit

  • Bahadur (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1971)
  • Hoito Eirokomi (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1992)
  • Char Buror Adda (Sarodiya Anondomela, 1996)

Kishore Uponyas (preteen novels)Edit

  • Raajkumar Er Poshake (Anandomela)
  • Gaja Ukil Er Hotya Rohosya (Anandomela)
  • Bhuture Kukur (Anandomela)
  • Lonka Morich O Ek Mohamanab (Pakhyik Anandamela, March 1983)
  • Manusher Moto Manush (Sharodiya Kishormon)
  • Chara Pute Gelen Nantu Pise (Pakhyik Anandamela, 1987)
  • Bomar Cheye Bisham[Sharodiya Kishor Bharati)
  • Somuddur Dekha (Sharodiya Kishor Bharati, 1988)
  • Aloy Adityer Iccha Potro Rohosyo (Anandomela)
  • Harano Theke Prapti (Anandamela)

Television adaptionEdit

Her novel "Baluchori" was adapted as a TV serial in Deepto TV named Aparajita. Also “Subarnalata” was run on Zee Bangla. “Prothom Protisshruti” is also running as a TV serial on Colors Bangla. ((Yupp TV)) ((Airtel TV)) ((Jio TV)).


  1. ^ [1] Archived 13 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 1–3.
  3. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 4–6.
  4. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 7–9.
  5. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 10–12.
  6. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 13–16.
  7. ^ Ghosh 2004, pp. 17–18.
  8. ^ [2] Archived 28 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Jnanpith Laureates Official listings". Jnanpith Website. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.


External linksEdit